Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#1610 How much can a New Zealand model hope to earn?

FQ: One of the few Kiwi magazines that does pay its models.

Ahhh modelling. So aspirational from the outside, so iffy from within. Kiwi ex-model-cum-exposé-gangsta Jenna Sauers today reports court documents outlining three models' cases against their former agency Next, which allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars of their earnings after they switched to Ford earlier this year. Like Sauers writes, that would be similar to quitting your job and then having your employer flatly refuse to pay any outstanding wages. Charming, just charming. Among the documents published online is an account statement for Polish supermodel Anna Jagodzinska from May 2009 to April 2010. In it, the amounts that a successful model actually earns are clearly displayed.

For an H&M campaign: $60,000. For a J Crew catalogue: $15,000. For an American Vogue editorial: $250. That's right, just $250. (All amounts are quoted in US Dollars.)

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to outline prices paid by New Zealand clients, in New Zealand dollars (and after you've read this, you'll see why there are so few fulltime models in this country).

For a Fashion Quarterly editorial: $180 for a full day, $120 for a half day. For an appearance in Viva: upwards of $75 per hour (but sources tell me the shoot is typically less than four hours long). For an appearance in Canvas: $250 for a half day. To the best of my knowledge, no other New Zealand magazines pay a fee for editorials.

Bear in mind though, that without editorial tear sheets in her book, a model is not likely to entice clients to book her for one of those campaigns or catalogues that will pay a much higher rate. Magazine tear sheets in a model's portfolio act as her CV – and few employers are going to hire somebody with no previous experience.

So how much can a model hope to earn for a New Zealand advertising campaign?

According to sources, anywhere between $1000 and $10,000. I personally have never heard of a model being paid $10,000 for any New Zealand based campaigns, but I've heard of plenty paying in the low thousands.

Some of the better suggested fees included $3000-$5000 for an Australasian Glassons campaign with billboards, point of sale, magazine ads, busbacks and online usage; and $2500 for a Mi Piaci or Overland footwear campaign.

Lookbooks and campaigns for our top designers can pay anywhere between $250 and $1500, depending on the model's experience. Many designers simply pay in trade or store vouchers.

The real money is in TV commercials, but even they are not worth what they used to be. Pre-recession, I remember a friend earning $7000 for a Middle Eastern commercial that was running for six months in several Arab nations. A casting for a similar TV commercial with a 12 month usage recently occurred – the job was paying $4000.

The moral of that story is, ladies, if you do wish to pursue a career in an industry where, as Jenna Sauers says, "you'll bear all the market risks associated with your labor, be solely responsible for expenses outlayed by others on your behalf without your consent, and maybe meet nice, successful men like Terry Richardson," then heading overseas to work is probably your best option.

Best of luck.



C Fallow said...

What a brilliant post

Katy Thomas said...

TVC's are still paying $10000+ but they tend to be for big corporates eg. Coke/Maccas etc or sadly yes, offshore productions... damn them, enticing us with their big budgets and favourable exchange rates

Aimee said...

I just think it's because the industry here in NZ is far too small for full time models. Overseas is the best bet, but even then it's so hard to crack the industry there too - enough to make a decent living anyway....

nat said...

it isn't just about the pay/currency not being competitive with other cities or the work being much less frequent (say eight castings a day, every day, in london/new york/hk vs on average maybe two or three a week in NZ).... the trouble in a small industry is becoming over-exposed.
you arrive in auckland, shoot a few jobs in a week; a couple of editorials, a TVC, some advertising... suddenly you're everywhere, you're overly recognisible & associated with too many brands across the different categories. you have to wait for it all to fade away, time that is best spent working elsewhere - hence jumping on the circuit.

top paying in NZ... maybe an overlands campaign? the real money is all in overseas TVCs coming to shoot.

Felix said...

good article! maybe you could do another one with photographer pay rates?

Bronnit said...

The Dominion Post also pays their models. Models used in the twice-yearly Fashion Mag editorial get $1000 for a day's work.

oldgirl said...

what are the models paid for NZfashion Week? I used a very good model for a fashion shoot a month back and it was $140 a hour and that is down in the lower south island, she was great and it was worth it, but there is not much work thats pays down here, yet all young girls want to be models. It would be intersting know how much N.Z top Model winner REALLY earns, and if she gets work offshore . Keep us up to date on her progress in the big wide world of modelling,I think we would all be curious, and you are the man to find these thing out

nat said...

fashion week pay is pretty atrocious, especially for the reasonably new models who are lucky to get a couple of hundred dollars for a show , and that's if the agency doesn't convince them to do it FOC for exposure. except for big names, even internationals often only pick up around $300-$600 per show... which doesn't work out to a lot when you figure out how many hours you spend waiting around backstage, and at fittings. then minus tax. and agency commission.

any type of advertising work, for example TVCs, is a completely different story. if there's a callback (a second casting with a narrowed down selection of models the director wants to see again), you're paid to attend that. you're paid for your hours spent in fittings, and you're paid overtime - all things that shouldn't be some great privilege.

Megan said...

'maybe meet nice, successful men like Terry Richardson.'

This is the best sentence I have ever read in my entire life.

Susanchen said...

So true. We need to find a way to make fashion industry more important.

Zu! said...

Definitely not the best thing to do. if you wanna make big money, so unstable and people can become so vulnerable at times... Very few make it big, and even less make it big for a large amount of years!

ED said...

Why do you think they go overseas? New Zealand has great commercial clients with respectful budgets, but these jobs are scarce in ratio to the amount of models populating NZ at any one time. It's leg up if a model can find a balance between the two realms of the industry...a secure income and a creative outlet; not all models can alternate between fashion and commercial so easily. Minimal/unpaid editorial jobs in a models book often allure and inspire clients with $. The better the model- the higher the rate...very rarely is there a fixed/unnegotiable pay rate. Different models come with ranging price tags.
Bottom line is models must travel, gaining a collective of cliental to ensure future work. It's a life full. C’EST la mode eh!

Leonie said...

You know what I think, Isaac? Someone somewhere has to be getting a huge profit margin in this industry. Karl Marx is screaming in his grave.

Serah said...

I still don't know if I would consider modelling "real work". I think its more an industry centered selling non essential items. Lets be honest, its not as if theses girls are digging holes/picking strawberries. They are making a living out of something entirely superfluous, which is incredibly fortunate for them.

At the same time, I love these goods and also enjoy pursuing fashion fickle as it may be.

As for the $1 million, it is not a lot in monetary terms by todays standards, but a relatively high figure for punitive damages in such a case, it will no doubt set an interesting precedent.

Leonie said...

How do you define real work? Selling your labour for an equal exchange is the basis of a capitalist society which in turn offers us choice. How many goods and services that would be deemed non essential are exchanged each week? Most, I reckon. I find it appalling that a person's time and effort in any industry is not given just reward . I thought we'd progressed beyond medieval serfdom. Who's controlling the cash?